The world's largest 8-bit merchandise retailer filed for bankruptcy last Thursday. The move comes shortly after the company posted massive losses due to slow sales. Some analysts suggest that the closing may be at least partially due to nation-wide nostalgia malaise.
The nostalgia buying demographic breaks down into four distinctive groups. Around 40 percent of retro-merchandise buyers are 30-somethings misremembering how great their childhoods were. 20 percent are teenagers who have appropriated Japanese culture in hopes of fitting in. The remaining percent are grandmothers who thought those Space Invaders socks would be the perfect gift for a grandchild who love games.
Significant losses in the first two demographics would mean that retro-stores have to tailor advertisement campaigns largely to the uninformed grandparent demographic. Already, online stores are starting to see knitted Mario iBook covers and Halo 3 key rings and an assortment of other stuff that no one really wants.
What is even worse is that nostalgia markets are closely linked to the multi-billion dollar U.S. irony industry. This leads to another crisis: what exactly do you do with a warehouse full of T-shirts featuring Mickey Mouse flipping the bird?